28 Apr : As the swine flu emanating from Mexico spread to new regions, India on Tuesday enhanced surveillance at airports to identify any affected passengers while in Goa, authorities were making frantic efforts to track down 500 Britishers who entered the state after the deadly outbreak abroad.The government has identified nine international airports for screening of passengers which include those at Jaipur, Goa and Cochin.
It has decided to provide special access passes to health workers for entry into the airports and to identity a quarantine area inside the airports to segregate passengers if required.
The decisions were taken at a high-level inter-ministerial meeting held in New Delhi.Forms have been devised by the Health Ministry which will be given to all airlines by the Civil Aviation Ministry to be filled up by the international passengers with details of their travel to infected countries and contact with the people of such countries.
In Goa, state machinery has been activated to track down around 500 Britishers.
"We will seek assistance of all the health workers posted at various health centres to get the throat swab samples of the visitors," Rajendra Tamba, state epidemiologist, said.
The health services department has created a special ward in Chicalim hospital, which would be used to quarantine patients found positive.
"This was the ward used during SARS outbreak," said acting health director Vasudev Devari.
Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram governments have alerted their pig breeding farms to monitor the health of the animals in the wake of outbreak of swine flue in Mexico.
Assam veterinary directorate has issued a directive to managers of its pig breeding farms to monitor symptoms like conjunctivities, coughing and severe bronchopneumonia before death of the animals in their care, official sources said in New Delhi today.
Officials of the Mizoram Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department today convened an emergency meeting in which it had urged the government to prohibit import of pigs from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
"The current swine flu virus H1N1 is the same as the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)has issued a warning that the situation in Mexico is stage-4 pandemic and is a communicable disease from human being to human being," a press statement issued by the department said.
Cases of Swine flu, which has spered to the US and Europe, were today detected in Middle East, New Zealand and Israel, prompting world health officials to raise a global alert level.